Using BuddyPress for Social Networks

bbp Toolkit is a plugin that allows the site admin to make various styling changes to a sites bbPress forum pages plus more besides.

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bbp Style Pack is a huge styling plugin for bbPress and more besides. Using bbp Style Pack you can change the look and feel of just about any element of your bbPress forums, for example you can control the colours and font sizes of all elements of your forums listing page, you can do the same with each individual forum topics list page and you can control the same elements for the individual topic and reply page.

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The main BuddyPress Forum component is bbPress. This is a core piece of software created by the creators of WordPress and it is pretty much fully integrated into WordPress and BuddyPress. With bbPress you can create two types of forum in a BuddyPress context – Site-wide forums and Group Forums. Site-wide forums have to be setup by the site admin whilst group forums are optional aspects of groups that are enabled by the group creator.

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Events Manager is a rich featured Events plugin for WordPress/BuddyPress. Truth be told it is probably overkill for many BuddyPress sites however it does offer good integration with BuddyPress and it’s diverse range of options mean that it should be the only Events Manager you will ever need.

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BuddyPress Simple Events is a plugin that allows BuddyPress users to create events and for those events to be displayed in a sidebar widget so that others can be aware of forthcoming activities. The plugin integrates with the Google Geolocation API and attempts to display a map of the location where the event will be held alongside a description of the event, the date and time and also there is space to link to a URL if this is required.

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WP ULike is a WordPress plugin that also supports BuddyPress, bbPress and a number of other plugins, it aims to be a comprehensive “Like” system for your site and enables site users to like a wide range of content types, including posts, forum topics and replies, comments and activity updates.

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One of the first major issues that hits anyone who has set up a public social networking site with BuddyPress is the about of spam that you have to deal with. Unless you have taken steps to prevent spammers getting access to your site then your life could be hell! This article explains how to configure your WordPress/BuddyPress site in order to avoid the maximum amount of spam.

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Before installing BuddyPress it’s best to get your basic WordPress installation configured correctly, this in itself can be quite a complex task and there are going to be many aspects of this that I will not have space here to go into in detail but what I hope to achieve in this post is to give you a basic idea of what is needed and to get yourself in a position to run and install BuddyPress on a firm platform.

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There are a lot of things that happen by default in BuddyPress that you may have a need to change. For example the types of activities displayed in the activity pages, how many activity items are displayed per page etc. These things can be changed, but you will need to have some knowledge of coding, or be applying a code snippet that you’ve been given.

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The information that is displayed in Sidebars is an important aspect of your website, one that can be tailored for each individual page if you wish, though this aspect is one that will tend to make your site setup more complex. In my search for better ways of displaying more relevant information with each page viewed what I have settled upon is a solution using two sidebar management plugins, these are Content Aware Sidebars and Display Widgets.

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